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Simple Clinic Growth Strategies

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Through implementing individualized incentive programs for staff, you can be more competitive in the compensation packages while growing your clinic.

By Emily Monson, PT & Larry Briand, MS, PT, ATC

Owning a private practice means more than just being the name behind the clinic. Every day, owners have to juggle the management of all clinical, administrative, marketing, and operations responsibilities. In addition, as corporate entities are offering bigger paychecks to physical therapists, it can be easy to wonder how private practice clinics can recruit (and keep!) their industry-leading talent. As a result, private practice owners have to think outside the box to keep their practices vibrant and competitive.

Finding additional means of generating income while helping to build your practice is downright challenging. That is why it is important to be competitive in the compensation packages you offer your staff, and implementing individualized incentive programs is a great way to do this.

Incentive programs provide a wide range of benefits for both your staff and your clinic. By adding an incentive component to your growth and development program, you can help develop staff into potential future leaders while growing your practice simultaneously. Incentive programs also create monetary gains for those who are doing more than just their everyday responsibilities. Overall, besides offering a competitive base pay, creating an incentive program for each of your staff members will help them to realize their own personal goals while helping the clinic to reach new heights as well.

When creating an incentive program, it is important to keep in mind what the specific strengths of your clinic are and where you see potential areas for improvement, and then link that to your staff’s strengths and areas for growth.

Here are some ideas for what to include in an incentive program:

  • Clinic compliance
  • Average charge per ticket
  • CPT code usage
  • Referral connections – finding and maintaining
  • Industrial angles – capturing all opportunities in work compensation
  • Productivity guidelines – total number of patients seen
  • Involvement in clinic activities outside of regular work responsibilities (e.g., charity walks/runs, community holiday celebrations, etc.)
  • Regularly attending clinic meetings, such as growth and development

Remember that your overarching goal for these incentive programs is to help your clinic gain traction and visibility in your community, so tailoring these programs specifically to each staff member’s strengths is crucial. Also keep in mind that these incentive programs should set aggressive, yet attainable goals. Your staff may meet some but not all of the goals, which is perfectly fine—as that gives them opportunities to grow in the next quarter or year of their program. To help track each staff member’s growth, achievements, and areas for development, have them keep individual logs. This allows more responsibility and accountability to be transferred to them, and they can manage their own growth along with assistance from the clinic’s ledgers.

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As far as the length of an incentive program, successful programs can be monthly, quarterly, or yearly. It is best to tailor the length to what you think would best motivate your staff member or what makes the most sense with your clinic’s calendar. Whatever timeframe you decide, be sure to allow for reflection at the end of each milestone and adjust the incentives and goals as needed.

Incentive programs are adaptable, and can be used for more than just physical therapists. Front desk coordinators and office staff are just as much a part of your team as staff physical therapists, and they can help grow and develop your clinic greatly. Tailor their incentive plans to help supplement the operations of your clinic, grow their skills as highly supportive clinic developers, and allow them to take more initiative in your clinic. In addition, if your clinic has athletic trainers, massage therapists, or other wellness staff, do the same for them.

All in all, private practice owners need to be constantly innovating by finding ways to keep their practices relevant and vibrant, as well as encouraging their staff to challenge themselves to reach new heights in their careers. Incentive programs can be a great way to empower your staff, grow your team together, and help take your clinic to new heights.

Larry Briand, MS, PT, ATC, is chief executive officer of Rehab Management Solutions in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. He can be reached at rms-lb@tds.net.

Emily Monson, PT, is an Impact editorial board member and owner of Clear Lake Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists. She can be reached at emily@therapy1.net.